Catholic Conference of Ohio
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Immigration Reform

 

The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). Ohio has a large number of Hispanic immigrant workers recruited by businesses to labor year round in Ohio industries. Many are undocumented.

 

WThe Catholic Conference of Ohio believes that current federal immigration law is unjust, unnecessarily restrictive and fails to properly balance the rights of immigrant workers and their families with the state’s right to control its borders. We support comprehensive reforms at the national level.

Ohio should show judicious restraint in pursuing state enforcement legislation, especially while federal courts review such initiatives that were enacted in other states.

Catholic Teaching

 

"God’s love transcends every human barrier, language, culture, and country border. The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “ I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). These words challenge each of us to see the dignity and sacredness of God that is reflected through people of all cultures and nations, regardless of legal status.

Pope John Paul II stated: “Who is my neighbor? The neighbor is every human being, without exception. It is not necessary to ask his nationality, or to which social or religious group he belongs. If he is in need, he must be helped...

We believe each person has opportunities to reach out in welcome to immigrant workers. Consider the following questions:

  • Are we as a society, as church, as employers, as consumers treating immigrants with dignity and justice?
  • Do my own attitudes toward immigrants reflect God’s love and concern for all persons?
  • How am I involved in reaching out to new immigrants in support of their pastoral and material needs?
  • What am I willing to do on behalf of the justice needs of immigrants?"

God’s Welcoming Presence: A Call To Stand In Solidarity With Ohio’s Immigrants, Ohio Catholic Bishops, February 2001

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Pleads for the Non-deportation of Maribel Trujillo

Previous Immigration ruling had declared her case "low priority and no treat to public safety" - new hearing issues a deportation order

On April 5, 2017, ICE officials arrested Trujillo-Diaz. who has no criminal record and no repeat immigration violations. The breadwinner of her family and primary caretaker to her children, ages 14 to 3, faces an April 11 deportation. On April 6, 2017 the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, issued the follwing statement: 

"The Trump Administration has repeatedly announced that its approach towards immigration enforcement would focus on public safety and removing criminal elements from our communities.  Today, we plea to our political leaders and law enforcement to live up to that in the case of Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a devoted wife and mother and outstanding member of her church and community.  

Maribel, a wife, a mother of four and an active member of St. Julie Billiart Parish in Hamilton, fled Mexico in 2002.  She currently has a pending asylum case, based on the situation that her family has been targeted by Mexican cartels because they have refused to work for them. 

Last year, when Maribel was close to deportation, thousands of Catholic faithful and other supporters throughout Butler County and Cincinnati sent letters, pleading for her to stay.  Immigration officials then responded by granting her prosecutorial discretion, considering her too low of a priority and no threat to public safety.  Maribel has been reporting regularly since then to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as instructed.  At her check-in appointment on Monday, she was told that she could remain at home as her asylum case was further reviewed.  Suddenly yesterday, ICE arrived at her brother’s house as she prepared to go to work, taking her into custody for imminent deportation without having the chance to say goodbye to all her children.  This is cruel and unacceptable.

Maribel has made a life in Ohio based on positive contributions to her church and her community.  She has no criminal history.  She is a lay leader at her parish, whose members are surrounding her with prayers that she be permitted to remain with them and her family.  Maribel’s children, ages 14, 12, 10 and 3, are all U.S. citizens.  Her 3-year-old daughter has recurring seizures and requires the attention and care of her mother.

We urge that prosecutorial discretion for Maribel be extended.  We fully respect the Department of Homeland Security’s duty to enforce our immigration laws, and we recognize that this is not an easy task.  At the same time, it is clear that the common good cannot be served at this stage by separating this wife and mother from her family.  Our community gains nothing by being left with a single-parent household when such a responsible and well respected family can be kept together.  We urge that our elected and administrative officials exercise mercy for Maribel."  

More information

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter of Concern regarding Changes to Immigration and Migration

Call for comprehensive reform, support for children and intact families, enforcement efforts that focus on threats to public safety, and maintaining programs for refugees

The Bishops call upon Congress to address our nation's broken immigration system through comprehensive reform that improves security and creates more legal and transparent paths to immigration. 

While not advocating for the breaking of laws, the Bishops urge a more humane enforcement of immigration laws that distinguishes between actual criminals and otherwise law-abiding, undocumented immigrant family members. 

In Ohio, the Catholic Church has a refugee resettlement network that resettled over 1000 refugees in 2016. Catholic parishes and diocesan offices also work in collaboration with other refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. These programs have safely and compassionately resettled refugees from all over the world, including a small number from Syria.  The refugee program is one of the most vetted processes for entry into the United States.  The Bishops do not oppose efforts to improve on the system, should there be a need.  However, the temporary shutdown of all refugee admissions, and the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled, create a chilling effect on our ability to maintain programs and ongoing assistance. 

The Bishops also encourage Congress to pass the BRIDGE Act: S.128/H.R. 496. This Act will protect the dignity of DACA-eligible youth by ensuring that these individuals, who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation, can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time.

New Executive Order On Refugees Still Leaves Many Innocent Lives At Risk

Catholic leaders remain concerned

The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, says that President Trump's latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. In a statement issued after the announcement of the travel suspension, Bishop Vásquez says that while we seek to maintain our values and safety, we must also exercise compassion in assisting and continuing to welcome the stranger. 

Phone-In Fridays

Voice Your Support for Immigrants and Refugees during Lent

In addition to fasting and prayer during this Lenten season, please join us in voicing support for vulnerable immigrants and refugees. You can do so by calling the offices of your Members of Congress during JFI’s weekly Phone-In Fridays, an advocacy event which we are undertaking this liturgical season. Every Friday between now and April 14th, please call your federal lawmakers and urge them to cosponsor legislation that supports immigrants and refugees seeking protection and safety in the U.S.

Please Support the BRIDGE ACT and DACA Youth

The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act, S.128/H.R. 496, was recently introduced in Congress as a bipartisan effort to sustain the temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the BRIDGE Act, young people who came to the United States as children would maintain their eligibility to work and live in the U.S. without the fear of deportation and family separation so long as they meet certain requirements, such as showing a commitment to education or honorable service in our military and having no history of serious crime.

There are more than 750,000 young people who have received and benefitted from DACA. These youth entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes and communities. As Catholics, we have long supported DACA youth and their families as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. 

Ask your Senators and Representative to support and co-sponsor the BRIDGE ACT 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Let Lawmakers Know Your Support for Immigrants and Refugees

USCCB's Justice for Immigrants Issues Action Alert

Background: 
President Donald Trump has issued an Executive Order that has devastating impacts on refugee resettlement in the United States. The Executive Order:

  • Halts the entire refugee admissions program for 120 days to determine additional security vetting procedures;
  • Cuts the number of refugees admitted in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000;
  • Suspends resettlement of refugees from Syria;
  • Suspends the issuance of visas to individuals from countries of concern, including Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries.

The U.S. refugee resettlement program is a life-saving program for the most vulnerable of the world's refugees. Welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. We seek to protect the vulnerable and recognize the human dignity of all. Moreover, when the United States through its resettlement program shares responsibility with refugee host countries, it helps the refugees, supports the countries, and helps to enhance peace, security, and stability to sensitive regions in the world. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need for the U.S. to show leadership in welcoming refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more urgent than ever.

Refugees who come through the program go through a rigorous, extensive vetting process. The Executive Order halts the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days, including those who have already gone through up to two years of vetting. This will affect some families already in transit. Standing up for refugees and for the life-saving resettlement program is consistent with our values as Americans and as Catholics.

Contact Form

USCCB Committee On Migration Chair Responds To Trump Administration Sanctuary City Executive Order

Order could be injurious to local relationships between communities and law enforcement where building trust and supportive relations with immigrant communities is essential to reducing crime and helping victims

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas and chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Migration has issued the following statement in response to the executive order that would deny federal funding for jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants:

I share the concern that all of us feel when someone is victimized by crime, especially when the perpetrator of that crime is someone who is in the United States without authorization. I urge our local, state, and federal elected officials to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that all persons — U.S citizens and newcomers alike — are protected from individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety. I am concerned, however, by the Executive Order issued by the President on January 25, 2017. This order would force all jurisdictions to accept a one-size-fits-all regime that might not be best for their particular jurisdictions.  

We believe in the inherent value of subsidiarity, and as spiritual leaders who minister to and live every day in our communities, we recognize the importance of relationships between local law enforcement and the people of the communities that they police. My brother bishops and I work to engage both local law enforcement and immigrant communities and help to foster dialogue between the two. We know that cooperative relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities are vital. I fear that this Executive Order may be injurious to that vital necessity.

I have enormous respect for and value our federal law enforcement agents who risk their lives every day to enforce our immigration laws. I also recognize that there may well be situations where local government feel they need to foster a relationship with their communities by working with the victims of or witnesses to crime without instilling a fear that by coming forward, they or their family members will be handed over to immigration authorities.  

As Archbishop Cordileone eloquently wrote in July of 2015 when confronted by tragedy in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, "Over the long-term, and in conjunction with my fellow bishops, I call upon Congress and the Administration to work together to comprehensively repair our nation's flawed immigration system, a system that divides families and undermines human dignity. Such reform, long overdue, should preserve family unity, ensure the due process of law, protect those fleeing persecution, and ensure the integrity of our nation's borders."

USCCB Chairman Strongly Opposes Executive Order Because It Harms Vulnerable Refugee and Immigrant Families

U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration, stated:

“We strongly disagree with the Executive Order’s halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. We will continue to engage the new administration, as we have all administrations for the duration of the current refugee program, now almost forty years. We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.”

“The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion.   This includes Christians, as well as Yazidis and Shia Muslims from Syria, Rohingyas from Burma, and other religious minorities. However, we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.”

“Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern.”

Full Statement

Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration

Committee On Migration Chair Strongly Opposes Administration’s Announcement To Build A Wall At U.S.-Mexico Border, Increase Detention And Deportation Forces

Catholic Church will continue to support and stand in solidarity with immigrant families

Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chair of the Committee of Migration and Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, stated:

"I am disheartened that the President has prioritized building a wall on our border with Mexico. This action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm's way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilizes the many vibrant and beautifully interconnected communities that live peacefully along the border. Instead of building walls, at this time, my brother bishops and I will continue to follow the example of Pope Francis. We will "look to build bridges between people, bridges that allow us to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.'"

"The announced increase in immigrant detention space and immigration enforcement activities is alarming. It will tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities. While we respect the right of our federal government to control our borders and ensure security for all Americans, we do not believe that a large scale escalation of immigrant detention and intensive increased use of enforcement in immigrant communities is the way to achieve those goals. Instead, we remain firm in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate, and common-sense reform. We fear that the policies announced today will make it much more difficult for the vulnerable to access protection in our country. Everyday my brother bishops and I witness the harmful effects of immigrant detention in our ministries. We experience the pain of severed families that struggle to maintain a semblance of normal family life. We see traumatized children in our schools and in our churches. The policies announced today will only further upend immigrant families."

"We will continue to support and stand in solidarity with immigrant families. We remind our communities and our nation that these families have intrinsic value as children of God. And to all those impacted by today's decision, we are here to walk with you and accompany you on this journey."

Full Statement

USCCB Migration & Refugee Services Information

U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Immigration Disappointing

USCCB Migration Committee concerned about impact on families

The chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed disappointment in relation to the June 23 per curiam ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Texas, in which some states are challenging immigration guidelines issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security, relating to the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.  

The Court deadlocked in a 4-4 tie, which means that the programs will remain preliminarily blocked nationwide from going into effect, and the matter will return to the federal trial court for further proceedings. The original DACA program is not affected by the injunction.  

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